Beltre: A Clear Case of Passive-Aggression

It happens all the time. We just see it a whole lot easier on the stage of big league baseball.

In that Rangers game against Miami at Arlington two night ago, 7/25/17, plate umpire Gerry Davis apparently didn’t like seeing Rangers batter waiting for his time at bat so far up the line behind home plate, so far away from the on-deck circle. He motioned for Adrian Beltre to get back in the circle, which Beltre did. Literally.

Beltre went over to the very transportable circle on the field and moved it back to where he had been standing at the time of censure. And then he sat down upon it. He was in the batting circle (so to speak). Again, quite literally.

As soon as umpire Davis saw him, he gave Beltre the thumb, inviting immediately, of course, the expression of astonished indignation – from both Beltre and Rangers manager Jeff Banister. The air briefly hung full of home team exasperation: “How can you throw the guy out? He did exactly as you told him, didn’t he? He was in the on-deck circle!”

Not exactly. Beltre moved the on-deck circle. He moved the circle to where he wanted to be. And where he wanted to be was the umpire’s objection in the first place. Only a cretin intellect could fail to get the intended message. And Beltre is no cretin intellect. He just didn’t like being told what to do under the watchful eye of his own ego and its own sensitivity to the fact that a few fans in the area would be aware of the fact that his movement from the area of his own choosing was not his idea. Oh no. It pushed the button on Adrian Beltre’s leftover adolescent “nobody tells me what to do without payback” way of thinking.

“Compliance in Defiance” is my term for it. Passive-Aggressive behavior includes any and all things we do, consciously or unconsciously, that are designed to blend defiance with compliance to some authority that we both have over us and resent. If you’ve ever been a teenager, or had a teenage kid to raise, you may already know what I’m talking about.

A few years ago, I remember this father telling me in my office that he was having a lot of trouble getting his 14-year old son to help him with the yard work.

“One day,” the father told me, “I asked my son to walk across the yard as I was busy picking up some leaves to retrieve a large piece of paper that had blown into our yard from a storm the night before. By the time he got across the yard, I looked over and saw that another sheet of paper had blown into the same area. It was only about five feet away from the first piece – and it had quickly pushed up against the fence, just like the first one had.

“To my amazement,” the father continued, “my son brought back the first piece of trash, but not the second, late arriving piece.

“Didn’t you see it, I asked? He said he did.

“Then why didn’t you bring it back too?” the father asked in frustration.

“You didn’t tell me to bring it back,” the son said, and he supposedly said it with a smile.”

The son got what Adrian Beltre got. He got sent to his room. But without a social media circus coverage of his remaining trip to maturity. Growing up was a trip the kid and a younger sister also made in their own ways, over time, just fine – and with a lot of love, patience, and parental authority at play in the mix.

Good Luck, Adrian Beltre!


Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle





4 Responses to “Beltre: A Clear Case of Passive-Aggression”


    Not one player in a 100 stays in the batting on deck circle. In fact after this happened the broadcast made it a point of showing both teams batters standing as close to home as Beltre. The very next inning Stanton stood in almost the same spot and nothing happened.For almost 20 years he has stood in the same spot and it never was an issue. So I don’t blame him for objecting even though his reaction was a little extreme.
    He record does not suggest he has an ego problem. Hardly ever is he thrown of games and he never talks about himself.
    He is only 6 hits from 3000 and that and all of his other records for 3rd basemen would be better subject matter.
    best regards old friend,

    • Bill McCurdy Says:

      It was the “extreme” reaction that did Beltre in, old friend. The umpire is the authority in these situations, a you well know. He doesn’t have to pay attention to the traditions of Ranger players in their home on deck circle – or even how they do it everywhere. All he has to do is know the rules and have a bad day – and then issue an order that’s carried out by a player in the “extreme” way that even you noted. And that becomes the force that pulls the trigger on the authority he possesses to eject Beltre or any other player who behaves as he did.

      As for Beltre’s personal reaction, what he did doesn’t mean that he’s a narcissist punk, all wrapped up in himself. Sorry if I didn’t make that clear, but all of us can have an ego problem at some point that evokes a passive-aggressive reaction that gets the same kind of response that Beltre received from authority – and without being a narcissist.

      Also, no big news here, but authority isn’t always fair, nor is life. In the umpire’s case, his ejection decision wasn’t the biggest surprise that ever happened either, but it too was the “extreme” result of Beltre’s behavior.

      Better luck certainly will prevail for Beltre on his way to 3,000 hits in a season in which most of the old Rangers luck has now moved to Houston. 🙂

      Regards, Bill, STHS 1956


    i Likewise did not wish to imply that technically umpires don’t have the right to enforce this rule, but it simply is ignored in each and every game. Never have I ever seen this done in all the games I have watched or played.
    Suggest you watch where the Astro batters stand and I’ll bet it won’t be on the mat.
    It’s not Luck what Astro’s;are doing this year. They are simply great and many are having career years at the same time. Altuve is for sure the MVP.

    • Bill McCurdy Says:

      No doubt, Mike, on all counts.

      The umps have the right to enforce the on deck circle rule, but they don’t do that anywhere, anymore than they enforce the coaching box rule areas – and no again – I’ve never seen anyone, other than Beltre tossed for a “wrong area” call at any time, anywhere.

      Again, it was the “extreme” way Beltre showed his displeasure that got him tossed by this particular umpire.

      And, by all means, the Astros are not lucky. They are a great team and a lot of fun to watch – and, yes,yes, and yes! Mr. Altuve deserves the MVP award over Judge and all others.

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